A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Space Force Base on the Transporter 9 mission. Image: SpaceX. For the fourth time in 2023 SpaceX has launched a small satellite shuttle mission into low Earth orbit with multiple payloads. The Transporter-9 mission lifted off after opening a 55-minute window at 10:49 a.m. PST (18:49 UTC) from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
SpaceX said the launch included 113 payloads, 90 of which were deployed directly from the Falcon 9 rocket. The other 23 satellites will be deployed from orbital vehicles at a later date.
Spaceflight Now will provide live coverage of the Transporter-9 launch on our Launch Pad live stream.
A view of the payloads in flight on the SpaceX Transporter-9 shuttle mission prior to encapsulation. Image: SpaceX Many of the payloads came from Earth observation company Planet Labs PBC. The San Francisco-based company has launched 36 more of its SuperDove satellites, adding to the list of more than 500 satellites currently in orbit. It also launched a technology demonstration satellite called Pelican-1, which will carry “the planet’s next-generation image sensors to be deployed as part of the Pelican and Tanager constellations.”
The mission comes at the end of the week after SpaceX launched a batch of Starlink satellites and a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. It also comes a day before the company prepares to launch two more satellites on behalf of Luxembourg-based satellite company SES.
The Transporter-9 mission lifted off into the clear blue sky from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E). The first stage booster, tail number B1071, returned to Vandenberg to reach Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4).
It was B1071’s 12th mission, following the Transporter-8 flight, two National Reconnaissance Service missions, NROL-87 and NROL-85, the German SARah-1 radar imaging satellite, the NASA and French ocean research satellite SWOT, and six Starlink missions. delivery flights.
Earth observations and technology demonstration
Just over 54 minutes into the mission, SpaceX began deploying fission payloads, starting with a batch of 11 payloads delivered by German company Exolaunch.
The first was one of the Canadian company’s three satellites, GHGSat: GHGSat-C9 Juba. It, along with GHGSat-C10 Vanguard and GHGSat-11 Elliot, was named after the children of company employees and is dedicated to monitoring emissions. The company says GHGSat-10 will be “the world’s first commercial CO2 monitoring payload.”
The flight also carried Djibouti-1A, a satellite designed to “transmit data from the Djibouti Center for Studies and Research (CERD) meteorological station to the Mission Control Center in Djibouti and provide the necessary tools to track changes in water resources, providing real-time nationwide data,” – says the publisher Cosmos in Africa.
Cadet 1st Class Amanda Beach and Cadet 1st Class Cole Turner attach a solar array substrate to a FalconSat X structural engineering model at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Department of Astronautics, 2020. October 15 The FalconSAT program is an academic platform for various experiments by the aerospace industry and the Department of Defense. Cadets design spacecraft and integrate payloads at the Space Systems Research Center with the help of faculty. Image: Joshua Armstrong/US Air Force The final payload to be deployed, nearly an hour and a half into the mission, was FalconSAT-X, a satellite developed by the US Air Force Academy. The Air Force describes the FalconSAT program as “an academic platform for experimentation by the aerospace industry and the Department of Defense.”